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Finding the right car to suit your daily driving needs can be tricky. Luckily, many dependable vehicles are on the market, like a late-model Toyota Camry or Honda Civic. Still, there are a few less-than-reliable cars you should reconsider, like the 2003 Honda Accord and 2013 Nissan Altima. These unreliable cars top the list of owner-reported issues. 

What are the top 5 most unreliable cars?

While the market is awash with historically problematic and less-than-reliable cars, these are the five vehicles with the most significant owner-reported problems:

  • 2002 Ford Explorer
  • 2003 Honda Accord
  • 2019 Toyota RAV4
  • 2013 Nissan Altima
  • 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

According to, the 2002 Ford Explorer tops the list of “the worst vehicles” regarding issues, repair costs, owners’ rankings, and complaints. Surprisingly, the 2003 Honda Accord, a nameplate usually synonymous with dependability, also makes the list. In addition to the Ford and Honda model, the 2019 Toyota RAV4, 2013 Nissan Altima, and 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee earn spots on the list of questionably reliable cars based on owner complaints.  

What’s the most problematic car?

The No.1 vehicle on the list of the most problematic cars is the 2002 Ford Explorer. The third-gen Explorer SUV has over 1,500 owner-sourced, transmission-related complaints, including 441 instances wherein the transmission required replacement. Unfortunately, the typical repair costs of a transmission replacement are around $2,840. 

What problems does the 2003 Honda Accord have?

The 2003 Honda Accord has nearly 1,000 transmission complaints courtesy of owners. Specifically, over 500 complaints refer to the total failure of the transmission, which means a costly replacement for the questionably reliable car. Moreover, the average mileage of transmission failure is around 98,000 miles. 

A 2003 Honda Accord, one of the least reliable vehicles per owners, shows off its silver paintwork at a show.
Honda Accord | Bryan Mitchell, Getty Images

What are the main problems with a Toyota RAV4?

The most common complaints with a 2019 Toyota RAV4 pertain to transmission and engine problems. For instance, drivers report rough shifting and hesitation in the RAV4’s transmission at as little as 3,450 miles.

Moreover, some drivers cite loud operation and excessive oil consumption in the RAV4’s engine; it’s not exactly exempted from reliable car status based on those issues.

What is the biggest problem with the Nissan Altima?

The biggest problem with the 2013 Nissan Altima is transmission-related. The Altima packs a continuously variable transmission (CVT) prone to shuttering, vibration, hesitation, and rough operation. Furthermore, many reports show drivers had to replace the transmission to solve the issue at an average of 55,450 miles.  

A black 2013 Nissan Altima cruises wet streets with questionable reliability.
Nissan Altima | Jim Mahoney, Photo by MediaNews Group, Boston Herald via Getty Images

What are common problems with the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee?

The most common problems with the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee are electrical and engine issues. For instance, the vehicle’s faulty Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) might require replacement, costing drivers around $1,170. 

One of the least reliable cars, a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee displays its styling on stage.
A 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee at a show | Rick Maiman, Bloomberg via Getty Images

Should you avoid these less-than-reliable cars? 

Sure, these are some of the least reliable cars based on owner complaints. In fact, slapped an “avoid it like the plague” sticker on each model. However, that doesn’t mean these vehicles won’t last a long time with proper care and maintenance. For instance, the Honda Accord earned the No. 3 spot on an iSeeCars study of the longest-lasting popular sedans.


Car Buying: 3 Things To Consider Before Finding a Reliable Car